Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Murphy & Me

So, the story I'm about to delve into has probably been told a thousand times the world over from families in our exact situation and, actually, that's what I'm truly hoping for. I'm hoping there are countless thousands of you who have been in our shoes and that you will be able to offer great advice or at least commiserate with us.

Alright, here goes..... (might wanna grab a cup of coffee for this one):

Our "firstborn" (as we like to call him), has always been such a great addition to the family. Murphy, our miniature schnauzer, was born in October 2004 and we brought him home in December that same year at just 6 weeks old. He was precious! We adored him! I even made a little scrapbook of memories from his first year - wait, scratch that... forget I even said that, it's much too embarrassing! I would never do that! ;)
Can you blame us for bringing this guy home?!?!?!! I mean, come on, who could resist?!?!!

Anyway, so this precious schnauzer puppy had come into our lives and won our hearts. We worked diligently with him right away, intently training him from the get-go. We were responsible pet owners, by golly.

And he responded remarkably well. So obedient! So well-behaved! We were so proud (and thankful - because we never wanted to be "one-of-those".... you know, one of those families with the obnoxious, disobedient dogs that no one enjoyed being around!)! So we worked diligently, socializing him with other dogs, taking him to puppy training class one night a week for weeks on end. He graduated from class with flying colors and was officially a super dog!

And SUPER he was! He aimed to please, was so obedient and we very rarely had a moment's trouble with him. He was fully house broken and was also very good around children.

That is........

....until WE had children!

Boy oh boy, things really changed in his world when Tanner & Tori came home and I can only imagine, from his perspective, how traumatic and life-altering it must have been! These two little crying, needy, fully-dependent-on-mom-and-dad creatures appeared one day, invaded his house, stole his masters' affection and he was expected to be okay with this?!?!! Poor guy, I have to sympathize with him a bit, but let me just tell you how far south things have gone in a hurry with him!

When Tanner and Tori were infants, Murphy was very nervous, stand-offish and just seemed generally scared of them for almost the entire first year. We didn't have too much trouble with him then. Sure, he wasn't getting as much attention as he was used to but we would just make sure to pet him and play with him any time the babies were asleep or we weren't tending to them. And he seemed fine with this arrangement. We thought we were home free!

Wellllllll, once these two little crying, needy, fully-dependent-on-mom-and-dad creatures became mobile and especially now that they are becoming screaming, running, trying to be fully-independent-from-mom-and-dad toddlers (that's a whole 'nother post in itself!), it's gotten overwhelming for Murphy and it's just wheels off now! It's a ZOO around here.

He's just gotten lost in the shuffle and, as a result, has become an increasingly disobedient, unkempt, untrained flat out wild banshee!!!!! I swear, it's like I have THREE kids! He barks out-of-control at everyone and everything, has started having accidents in the house with more and more frequency lately, and I'm about at my WITS END!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously people, when I cleaned up poop in the house every single day last week (the record so far), I couldn't help but have thoughts about giving up and throwing in the towel with him.

But, I'm not a quitter, and he's a family member. I keep telling Brad that when we committed to getting a puppy we were in it for the long haul, through thick and thin. We can't give our children away when the going gets rough and this is just another valuable learning experience in life...... right?

And then he bit Tanner. Twice. On two separate occasions and I thought I would kick him to the curb right then and there! Brad was even more livid than I was about those incidents and really did threaten to get rid of him. But, in Murphy's defense, on both of those occasions, Tanner had been pestering him and crowding him into a corner, so it was also a good learning experience for Tanner on boundaries with dogs. He didn't break Tanner's skin on either occasion, but it certainly scared Tanner (and us!) and made us take a serious step back to evaluate what-in-the-heck we can do to get this dog back under control, back to super dog status.

So, I had to go to PetSmart last week to get Murphy some food and, while I was there, visited the training department to share our story and ask some questions. They suggested the Intermediate training class since Murphy has already had the Beginner training class. It begins next week and meets every Thursday night for EIGHT weeks and I'm just feeling overwhelmed by the thought of that, but I think it might really do some good. Also, as cheesy as this sounds, PetSmart also offers "Doggy Day Camps," I guess where you drop your dog off for the day to play with other dogs and maybe trainers.

Anyway, the bottom line is: We are starkly aware that Murphy is STARVED for attention and we really do try to play with him, take him for walks (this seems to really help, but we haven't been out with him in several weeks due to the heat!) and just show him general attention and affection, but quite frankly, we're a little busy just keeping up with our two-legged kids and, by the end of the day, EXHAUSTED and needing a break from it all!

So, for those of you that have actually stuck around to read this entire post, that's our doggie drama........
Advice? Thoughts? Anyone? BUELLER?

Please, please, pleeeeease, for those of you that have gone through this with a pet, share your stories and what worked/didn't work, etc...


Oh, and in case you're wondering where the title of this post came from, let's just say our life resembles this movie lately....

Marley & Me, the 2008 release starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson.... great movie, if you haven't seen it, check it out!

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